Construction of this remarkable site began in 1782, to mark the founding of the new capital and provide a resting place for the sacred Emerald Buddha (Phra Kaeo) and a residence for the king. Surrounded by walls stretching for 2,080 yards (1,900 m), the complex was once a self-sufficient city within a city. The royal family now lives in Dusit, but Wat Phra Kaeo is still Thailand’s holiest temple – visitors must cover their knees and heels before entering.
Bot of the Emerald Buddha
Devotees make offerings to the Emerald Buddha at the entrance to the bot, the most important building in the wat.
Extending clockwise all the way around the cloisters are 178 panels depicting the complete story of the Ramakien
Decorative Gilt Figures
Encircling the exterior of the bot are 112 garudas (mythical beasts that are half-man, half-bird). They are shown holding nagas (serpents) and are typical of the wat’s dazzling decorative details.
Wat Phra Kaeo
Wat Phra Kaeo (shown here) is a sub complex within the greater Grand Palace complex. The temple is Thailand’s holiest shrine, but unlike other Thai wats, has no resident monks.